November 11, 1916 - George Gipp Kicks the Winner

By Olson

1916 vs Western State Normal Varsity (A) WON 10-7

This is easily the most famous Notre Dame freshmen football game of all time-because of George Gipp.

With the score tied 7-7 and less than 3 minutes remaining in the game, the Irish found themselves at their own 38 yd line, 4th down and long. Irish QB Frank Thomas (later the Head Coach at Alabama when Bear Bryant and Don Hutson played for the Tide), called for Gipp to punt. Gipp, not wanting to settle for a tie, ignored Thomas and proceeded to drop kick a 62 yard 'line drive' FG. Since Gipp was 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage when he punted, the football actually travelled 69 yards for what proved to be the game winner.

For the day the Irish had 216 total yards-the Gipper accounted for 174 of them.

The loss was WSN's first in five years.

Western State Normal later changed their name to Western Michigan U.

Keywords: freshman football, george gipp, the gipper, western state normal, western michigan, frank thomas, alabama, bear bryant

Posted On: 2013-02-18 00:15:04 by Olson


      Were you there? Have more to add? Leave a comment and let us know!

   Posted By: olson at 2015-11-11 10:13:21[#1]
Since I wrote the above, I have come to doubt that Frank Thomas was the ND frosh QB who told Gipp to punt.

Thomas was identified as the frosh QB in the book \'One for the Gipper\'. However, I have since learned that Thomas transferred to ND from Western State (so it\'s unlikely that he even played Frosh football at ND)

Further, Thomas\' varsity career at ND spanned the years 1920 through 1922, making even further unlikely that he had been at ND as far back as 1916.

The most likely candidate to have been the ND Frosh QB in 1916 was Pete Bahan. Bahan would start next to Gipp on the Irish varsity for the next 3 seasons: RHB in \'17 and \'18 and starting QB & captain on the 1919 ND squad.

As an aside, Bahan transferred to Detroit in 1920 & captained their team too & in 1921 played yet another season at St Mary\'s Cal-also captaining that squad!

Bahan had captained 3 different college football squads in 3 straight season(which maybe some sort of record) Bahan got 6 seasons of eligibility likely says something about the lack of uniform college football rules back in those days
Reply To

   Post New Comment

Name: *

Comment: *

Reload Image

Enter Captcha (case sensitive):